If you’re looking for a more structured vacation experience, or want to expand your mind or skillset this summer, then there are plenty of really interesting places in Canada where you can do just that. From sea to shining sea you’ll find grown-up camps offering you the opportunity to be active, contemplative, or do something completely new that could ignite a passion inside you and really give your life a kick in the pants.
Hone Your Survival Skills in Northern S.K.
Don’t want to waste those vacation days relaxing? Why not learn how to live off the land and immerse yourself in a “total survival experience” with SOS Wilderness Survival in Bruno, SK. Staying in primitive camps, you can book either a three or five day experience where you’ll learn how to use natural resources, car parts, and whatever else is around to survive. You’ll forage for food and water, signal for help, learn about the psychology of survival, and find out how to build a shelter. They also offer courses in wilderness navigation, so there’s another way to enhance your bush-craft skillset if that appeals.
Find Peace on Beautiful Cortes Island, B.C.
You’ll need to take a seaplane or a series of ferries to get to Hollyhock from Vancouver, but it’s well worth the trip. Once you make it to their Lifelong Learning Centre, you’ll have opportunities to learn everything from finding happiness through qigong to connecting with the natural world around you, to writing about your life in order to create personal transformation. Programs are offered all summer long, and there is a wide range of onsite accommodations to choose from – all of which come with organic meals, yoga classes, and hot tubs looking out over the ocean. Once you get there, you may never want to leave.
Get Crafty in Fredericton, N.B.
If you’re the crafty type, then you’re bound to find a weekend or weeklong camp at Edventures that stokes your interest. Based in the New Brunswick College of Art and Design, these camps offer everything from raku pottery to basketry, rug-hooking, pattern-making, wire artistry and photography. Taught by working artisans, you’ll get a high level of instruction and walk away with seriously impressive works of your own. Once you’re off-campus, Fredericton is a fun city sat on a pretty river with plenty of bars and restaurants to enjoy. Plus, the Edventures program has negotiated low rates for accommodations in town for its campers. Camps run throughout July and August.
Learn to Survive the Zombie Apocalype in Bancroft, O.N.
If you’re the type that watches The Walking Dead and thinks, “Bring it on,” then this is the camp for you. This August, you can learn exactly how to be one of the survivors once the world goes to hell and the undead are poised to take over. You’ll learn archery, hand-to-hand combat, weapon-making, tactical skills, leadership skills, and at the end of three days be faced with a simulated zombie attack to put your newly acquired skillset to the test. You’ll stay in cabins with bunk beds, enjoy camp-style meals, and be thoroughly entertained throughout this fun and crazy long-weekend.
Kick Up Your Kitchen Skills at a Culinary Boot Camp in P.E.I.
There’s a wicked program of intensive cooking classes on offer at Holland College in Charlottetown, where you can learn everything from how to create chocolate masterpieces to grill-mastery, work with rum and beer at their Bootleggers Experiences, and go market shopping with local chefs to learn how to source the freshest ingredients. The boot camps are a lot of fun, and getting to sit down and eat the feasts you’ve helped prepare at the end of every day is a very satisfying experience indeed. Charlottetown is gorgeous, and PEI is a fantastic foodie destination, so if you’ve been looking for an excuse to visit the nation’s smallest province, this is a good one.
Specialized Camps For Ladies in St Donat, Q.C.
Although Camp Ouareau usually offers up camps for girls, two weekends a year they hold camps for women that either have an interest in arts (think ceramics, pottery, rug-hooking) or health and fitness (yoga, raw food, hiking, health demonstrations). While you’ll go and learn new skills, you can also indulge in all the usual kid’s camp activities like kayaking, tennis, archery and swimming. Accommodations are shared, in rustic cabins. You’ll be able to relax by the roaring fire in their log-cabin style lodge, and even book a massage while you’re there. This is a blissful break away from the stresses of everyday life – and surely one that you deserve.
Unleash Your Inner Scientist in Churchill, M.B.
Fascinated by beluga whales, polar bears, and the other wildlife that populates sub-arctic Canada? The Churchill Northern Studies Centre offers educational vacations where you’ll be immersed in the life of a biologist and able to play scientist. Every July, they offer trips where you can get up close and personal with the beluga whales that come to the Hudson Bay every summer to breed. Participants out on the water amongst the whales, on large jet boats, zodiacs, and kayaks, and consequently are as close as you can get to the action. Basic accommodations are included, and there are opportunities to explore the fascinating local area.
Become More Musical in Peterborough, O.N.
Feel like you missed out on your true calling as a musician? This August you can spend a blissful and creative week at Lake Field Music Camp, where you’ll get to spend your days immersed in music, with workshops aimed at everyone from beginners to those looking to increase their skills. You’ll form bands with other campers, create masterpieces together, and get to live the life of a musician for a week whilst living on campus at the beautiful Lakefield College School. Evenings are spent either taking part in performances or chilling out and watching the entertainment program, which offers open mics and themed shows.
Be a Kid Again in the Laurentians, Q.C.
French speakers can head to Quebec, unplug all their electronic devices and relive their childhood at Camp Le P’tit Bonheur. Here you’ll stay in cabins with six other campers, roast marshmallows over campfires (there will also be opportunities to jam, sing, and tell stories), go kayaking, play Frisbee-golf, do obstacle courses, hike, swim… and much, much more. Doesn’t that just sound like it would completely recharge your batteries? The camp happens over a weekend in September, and they also offer a winter version with snow activities later in the year.
Detox Mentally, Spiritually and Physically in the Eastern Townships, Q.C.
Take an inner journey to find yourself through yoga, meditation, and shamanic ceremony with Camp Comfort Retreats on the shores of stunning Lac Aylmer in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. There are workshops throughout each day of your camp, and in the evenings you can commune with fellow campers through trance dance, talking circles, music, and guided journeying. You can also take long nature walks and relax in the wood-fired sauna or hot tub. You’ll be fed macrobiotic vegetarian cuisine, and leave feeling nourished inside and out. Everybody say Ahhhhh, or should that be Ohm?